I’d say that the songs in Der Glöckner von Notre Dame are good. Sure there are some weak songs but they’re thoughtful and the either drive the plot forward or develop a character. However the music is not without problems.
First off, I HATE, hate that Esmeralda doesn’t get a solo in this. With exception of the Archdeacon, Clopin and the gargoyles she the only character not get one. Now you maybe thinking “But Hunchblog the majority of the characters in this didn’t songs. ” Well that is true but let’s face, each of the gargoyles couldn’t get their own song they’re a trio and as a trio they almost get a single song, Clopin may not a single song but he sings a lot as the narrator and the archdeacon is hardly even a character so he doesn’t count. Beside the plot pretty much revolves around you’d think she’d get one but her only big songs has Quasimodo in it. I mean in Notre Dame de Paris every character got one even Fleur de Lys (Phoebus’ Fiancee) got one (La monture) and she is seldom even in the adaptations. So that was a BIG negative.
I also got bit tired of the gargoyles singing over people. I do think it was a great way to show that gargoyles are 100% in Quasimodo’s head but it’s gets a bit old after a while. I think the show kept putting the gargoyles in songs so that A Guy Like you wouldn’t feel out of place. Another thing that gets old is hearing Draußen (Out There) over and over again. Anytime the play wants to reenforce Quasimodo to the audience Draußen is played. Admittedly this maybe unfair because Die Glocken Notre Dames is the most overused as in the play this how Clopin does most of his narrating but since I’ve been judging off the CD it’s Draußen that got old.
So yeah the songs are good for the most part but what I think really helps a lot of these songs is that singing quality is better. Though I’ve picked on Draußen in this review, I much prefer it in this musical than in the Disney movie along with Ein Mann wie du (A Man like you). The singers are just much better and that helps the enjoyment of the songs. Conversely, Hellfire suffers for this and it’s not because the is bad, I mean he put emotionally intensity into the next song Esmeralda, but maybe Hellfire is Tony Jay’s and no one else compares. Esmeralda and Clopin are one the level though the cresendo at the end of Bell isn’t as powerful as Kendal but he does a great job otherwise.
The musical does make the recycled Disney movie songs feel like it’s own which is nice, you don’t feel like their just simply lifted from the movie and put in to a musical. And while I do prefer Notre Dame de Paris Der Glöckner von Notre Dame has wonderful music. Just wish Esmeralda got one song to herself.
Next Time – The Production; Sets